Our story and mission

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Our story

Old photo of Harney Elementary School


The first school in the Northwest was established right here at Fort Vancouver for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1832.  Vancouver School District was formed in 1852. Vancouver School of Arts and Academics is located in the building that was the second junior high school to open in the state of Washington.


Kaiser Shipyards operated in Vancouver to support the efforts of World War II. As families streamed into the community, schools were built as quickly as possible. In the 1990s, a major rebuilding effort replaced or renovated those schools from the 1940s. Computer labs opened, and fiber optic networks connected schools.

InnovativeStudent using iPad

Vancouver Public Schools pioneered programs of choice. As a pilot site for National Teacher Certification, the district produced seven of the first nationally certified teachers. The National School Boards Association selected Vancouver as a technology visitation site three times—in 1993, 1999 and 2013. Thanks to a community-approved technology levy, students in grades three through 12 will have one-to-one digital learning tools by the year 2017.

Graduation, grads, Vancouver Public SchoolsVisionary

Over the years we’ve inspired, challenged, urged, supported and charged into unexplored territory. In concert with an informed, engaged community, we’ve developed plans that have produced incredible results. We continue to look ahead.

Historical timeline

Take a step back in time with our interactive historical timeline!

Do you have historical information to share? Please email us